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01.08.16

Links 8/1/2016: Polaroid, Freetel Android Devices, More From CES

Posted in News Roundup at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Thinking Outside The (Linux) Box

    So, what does this have to do with Linux or computers in general? It illustrates an important truth about technology and that is that it is not and never will be perfect. Anyone who wants to use any technology to make life easier or to accomplish a task must be prepared to live with imperfection and learn how to work around it. If you can’t handle that concept then you will find yourself very frustrated. Sometimes a little analytical thinking and judicious application of pragmatic logic are necessary to get the most from a complex system. Anyone not prepared to roll with the changes is doomed to failure. The Linux ecosystem is vast and developers are constantly working to find new ways to get things done, deprecating the old and embracing the new. It will never be perfect, it will never be one-size-fits-all. The number of choices are dizzying and that is a good thing because it gives you options to deal with these little imperfections and stumbling blocks as the present themselves.

  • Server

    • Behind the scenes: How the FCC migrated to the cloud

      “We literally retired two Sun E25Ks, which as background, these systems each weigh one ton. We clearly did not want to load those into the trucks, and they were 11 years old. Those were moved to newer server blades that were lighter, more modular, etc., so that they could be more easily transported to the commercial data facility. Those one-ton systems could now be gracefully retired and disposed of as appropriate,” Bray said.

    • Introducing dumb-init, an init system for Docker containers

      At Yelp we use Docker containers everywhere: we run tests in them, build tools around them, and even deploy them into production. In this post we introduce dumb-init, a simple init system written in C which we use inside our containers.

      Lightweight containers have made running a single process without normal init systems like systemd or sysvinit practical. However, omitting an init system often leads to incorrect handling of processes and signals, and can result in problems such as containers which can’t be gracefully stopped, or leaking containers which should have been destroyed.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 4 Episode 01

      In this episode: Ian Murdoch, creator of Debian, has died. AMD is overhauling its open source driver approach. Linux has been made to run on a PS4. IPv6 is now at 10% adoption, after only 20 years. And there’s an outbreak of common sense at the Dutch Government. All this plus our regular Finds, Brains and Voices sections. Plus, One. More. Thing.

  • Kernel Space

    • diff -u: What’s New in Kernel Development

      There’s an ongoing impulse among a diversity of developers to be able to compile some or all of the Linux kernel as a library, so that a piece of software could use kernel services and APIs while running under a different kernel entirely, or a different operating system.

    • FIXME and TODO comments in the Linux kernel source

      While looking at some code in the Linux Kernel this morning I spotted a few FIXME comments and that got me wondering just how many there are in the source code. After a quick grep I found nearly 4200 in v4.4.0-rc8 and that got me thinking about other similar comment tags such as TODO that are in the source and how this has been changing over time.

    • The Thousands Of FIXMEs & TODOs In The Linux Kernel

      Canonical’s Colin King has looked at the number of FIXME and TODO comments within the Linux kernel tree.

      King found that currently there are more than four thousand “FIXME” comments within the Linux 4.4 kernel source code. After becoming curious, he found almost 4,500 “TODO” comments in the kernel source code as well.

    • Automotive Grade Linux makes the grade with AGL UCB for Ford, Subaru, Mazda & Mistubishi

      Automotive Grade Linux , connected car open source software, announced that Subaru, Mitsubishi Motors, Mazda Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company are joining The Linux Foundation and AGL. Ford Motor Company is the first U.S. car manufacturer to join AGL. These latest automakers join existing members Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Company Ltd. and Linux Foundation board member Jaguar Land Rover to round-up the list of OEM supporters within AGL.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akonadi – still alive and rocking

        It’s been a while since I wrote anything about Akonadi but that does not mean I was slacking all the time Wink The KDE PIM team has ported PIM to KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5 and released the first KF5-based version in August 2015 and even before that we already did some major changes under the hood that were not possible in the KDE4 version due to API and ABI freezes of kdepimlibs. The KF5-based version of Akonadi libraries (and all the other KDE PIM libraries for that matter) have no guarantees of stable API yet, so we can bend and twist the libraries to our needs to improve stability and performance. Here’s an overview of what has happened (mostly in Akonadi) since we started porting to KDE Frameworks 5. It is slightly more technical than I originally intended to, sorry about that.

      • KDE Plasma 5.5: The Quintessential 2016 Review

        It’s the start of 2016 and over the past year KDE developers have brought numerous new features and improvements to the Plasma 5 desktop, some tangible with others more under-the-hood.

        With the sun set on 2015 it marks the first full year since Plasma 4, a stable workhorse which many users still rely on for day-to-day computing, has been discontinued. Plasma 5 is on the clock for users who need to know if the widgets, settings, and some painful regressions have been sorted out to see if it’s safe to embrace modern Plasma in the new year.

        This review will cover the evolution of KDE Plasma and its applications since the release of 5.2, listing many of the biggest differences and examining if they have caught up with Plasma 4 to a satisfactory degree for everyday users looking for a supported daily driver. We will also look at the desktop from the viewpoint of users who are thinking of trying or returning to the KDE/Plasma ecosystem, and may not necessarily know about some of the core Plasma functionality.

        While I have avoided bias to the best of my ability, for full disclosure I am a member of the KDE Visual Design Group.

      • Updates on KBibTeX

        In this posting, I am going to tell about the changes and development done in KBibTeX during the last few months. Most notably, KBibTeX has been ported to KDE Frameworks 5, but also some effort has been spent into code quality.

      • Care to help test?
      • Creating lessons with Cantor

        As a student from the competition Google Code In, I saw that there is a task to create lessons in Cantor. Although I haven’t worked with this KDE software before, I accepted the task.

      • The Kubuntu Podcast team’s latest video is live
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME’s Mutter Now Supports Screen Rotation On Wayland

        Thanks to work that landed today by GNOME’s Carlos Garnacho, there is now support on the GNOME desktop for supporting screen rotation on Wayland.

        Mutter has picked up native, DRM-based CRTC rotation based upon the modes exposed by the DRM kernel graphics driver. This implementation is only for drivers/hardware supporting rotation modes and is not yet a driver-independent solution. The other caveat, which isn’t anything really unique, is that when screen rotation takes place GNOME falls back to using a software cursor.

      • Watch: GNOME Desktop Environment Makes Appearance in Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ Video

        It’s almost weekend, so we’re continuing our “Watch” series of articles with a really funny one, the latest video of Justin Bieber for the song Sorry, where you can see the GNOME Shell user interface of the GNOME desktop environment for GNU/Linux OSes.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Nvidia unveils Drive PX 2 platform for self-driving cars

      Nvidia unveiled a “Drive PX 2” platform for self-driving cars, an update to its earlier Tegra-based Drive PX automotive mainboard design.

      Nvidia and Qualcomm showed off new automotive platforms at CES that demonstrate the power of their advanced GPUs to achieve sophisticated computer vision capabilities. Qualcomm’s new Linux- and Android-ready Snapdragon 820a is an automotive spin on its quad-core 820 SoC, that targets in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Here, we look at Nvidia’s Drive PX 2 platform for self-driving cars, an update to its Tegra-based Drive PX automotive board with 16nm Tegras that haven’t even been announced yet.

    • Qualcomm aims new Snapdragon 820a SoC at smart cars

      Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 820a, a version of its 64-bit Snapdragon 820 SoC targeting automotive applications including IVI and ADAS.

      Nvidia and Qualcomm showed off new automotive platforms at CES that demonstrate the power of their advanced GPUs to achieve sophisticated computer vision capabilities. Nvidia’s Drive PX 2 platform is aimed at self-driving cars, and updates the Tegra-based Drive PX automotive board with 16nm Tegras that haven’t even been announced yet. Here, we look at Qualcomm’s Linux- and Android-ready Snapdragon 820a, an automotive spin on its quad-core 820 SoC designed for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

    • Augmented reality helmet moves to Skylake, RealSense, Linux

      Daqri has upgraded its augmented reality Smart Helmet, which now runs Linux on a 6th Gen Intel Core M7 processor, and includes an Intel RealSense camera.

      Daqri first announced its Daqri Smart Helmet in Sept. 2014, and rolled it out to aerospace, construction, oil & gas, and other industrial firms for pilot programs shortly thereafter. At CES this week, Daqri showed off a second generation model of the Linux-based augmented reality helmet that will ship commercially later this quarter.

    • Latest Intel Compute Sticks use Skylake and Cherry Trail CPUs

      With its relatively high, $89 (Linux) to $149 (Windows) price, middling Bay Trail processor, and one lonely USB port, the Intel Compute Stick was clearly in need of some improvements. At CES, Intel launched several second-gen versions that add more USB ports, faster 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi, and much faster processors.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Half of AT&T’s networks are controlled by open-source SDN code

    AT&T says it has replaced nearly half of the software in its vast operations with open-source software-defined networking (SDN) code.

    Speaking to developers just before this year’s CES conference kicked off on Tuesday, technology and operations veep John Donovan dropped that number as evidence that the operator’s SDN strategy is working.

  • Open-source ‘ecosystem’ central to fight against Ebola

    Harnessing open-source software and the voters’ roll solved the issue.

  • Embracing open source as a visual artist

    I’d heard about Linux, but I thought it was scrolling green terminal output on black monitors for Hollywood hackers and geeks. Reading Sennett write about Linux in such a way that connected free, open source software to craftsmanship (and radical, avant-garde politics) piqued my interest. Unhappy with the standard computing options and wanting a deeper understanding of the means of media production, I made a leap into the void and built a Linux desktop. It was my first rig and my first distro (Ubuntu). The learning curve was steep and the new environment put a serious hamper on my creative output as there was no 1:1 correlation between the tools with which I was familiar. I began working with openFrameworks and while a visualist-in-residence at The Institute of Cultural Inquiry, created my first truly open source art work.

  • Was 2015 the Year When Open Source Software Finally Won?

    Open source software has made huge strides in a short time. But do platforms like the cloud, IoT and Android help or hinder the mission of free and open source code?

  • The role the channel can play in managing open source security

    With the growing popularity of wearables providing determined hackers with yet another means of accessing the sensitive information they desire, this year will see a need for security to extend beyond the perimeter as these hackers continue to find ways into IT infrastructure through alternative, less prioritised routes.

  • Raspberry Pi-based home AI project open-sources key components

    Mycroft.ai, which is working to create a home AI platform based on Raspberry Pi, Arduino and an extensive in-house software stack, has opened an important part of that stack to developers everywhere as of Wednesday.

  • WD and ownCloud team up on consumer cloud device

    ownCloud started off as a humble ‘free software’ file syncing project from Germany. But that project has evolved into an open source company that is now headquartered in Boston, Mass. And ownCloud has become a platform that does much more than just file syncing: It has an online collaborative document like Office 365, it has apps like mail, it has calendar, and much more.

  • A new home AI system, an open-source AI engine, and Apple’s acquisition of AI company Emotient—SD Times news digest: Jan. 8, 2016
  • AT&T software plans gain steam, focus on cloud and open source

    AT&T continues to steadily march towards a virtualized future, which will see the carrier hit software control of 75% of its network by 2020 using software-defined networking and network functions virtualization technologies.

  • Mycroft Open Sources Artificial Intelligence Library for IoT Devices

    Mycroft says it aims to assure the future of open source artificial intelligence through its release this week of Adapt, an intent parser engine for embedded devices, as an open source project.

    Mycroft’s main product is a device of the same name that is designed to manage IoT devices in the smart home and office. The chief selling point of the Mycroft is its ability to predict and learn what users want in an intelligent way.

  • Events

    • The Linux Foundation Announces 2016 Events Schedule

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced its 2016 events schedule. Linux Foundation events are where the creators, maintainers and practitioners of the world’s most important open source projects meet. Linux Foundation events in 2015 attracted nearly 15,000 developers, maintainers, sysadmins, thought leaders, business executives and other industry professionals from more than 3,100 organizations across 85 countries.

    • International Free Software Conference in Havana Cuba

      The 100 EUR (General Admission) Ticket is for people from economically developed countries (but if you happen to be rich in a poorer country, please stick to this category). The 20 EUR category is for people from economically developing countries (we are naming Africa, Middle- and South America – if you happen to come from another country, please contact us individually).

    • Spotlight! Call for Proposals and Event Suggestions!

      You, and your suggestions and proposals, are the heart of Penguicon’s programming. The deadline for all event proposals and suggestions is February 1st, 2016, in 3 short weeks! This is a great time to tell us what you’d like to present, or suggest ideas our track heads can use, using our forms.

    • Bad Voltage Live in Los Angeles: Why You Should Be There
    • We Need Your Answers
    • Speaking at SCALE 14x

      I’m working on my GIMP talk for SCALE 14x, the Southern California Linux Expo in Pasadena.

    • Developer: Tizen Community Dinner at FOSDEM 2016

      Last year the event attracted 5000+ attendees and its looks like a similar number for this year. There will be a number of Tizen talks and you will have the opportunity to meet and listen to Tizen developers from all over Europe (and further away). There will be a EFL / Tizen booth where developers can learn about the Tizen ecosystem, available devices and also about coding using EFL.

    • Design Hackfest in Rio de Janeiro

      In a week and a half, a bunch of us that are involved in GNOME design will be heading to Rio de Janeiro, in order to spend some time with the good people at Endless. (If you don’t know them yet, Endless are selling computers for the developing world, all of which run a GNOME-based operating system. Their latest device, the Endless Mini has been getting some good press recently.)

    • Shuttleworth at SCALE, Google Rolls Over & More…

      To SCALE or not to SCALE: If you live somewhere within driving distance of Southern California and you’ve been sitting on the fence trying to decide whether to attend SCALE 14X (that’s the Southern California Linux Expo for the jargon impaired), then we’re about to give you a tidbit that might help you make up your mind. FOSS Force has learned from a SCALE official that FOSS rocket man and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth will be giving the keynote address at SCALE on Saturday January 23. Although Shuttleworth’s scheduling has not been posted on the event’s website as we go to press, it’s presumed that he will speak at 10:00 a.m. According to our source, Shuttleworth will most likely discuss Linux on Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Third bug hunting session for LibreOffice 5.1

      The LibreOffice community is working hard on the next major release of LibreOffice 5.1 – planned for early February – with a bug hunting session focused on new features and fixes for bugs and regressions, to test the second release candidate.

      The session will last 3 days, from January 15 to January 17, 2016. On those dates, mentors will be available from 08AM UTC to 10PM UTC to help volunteers to triage bugs, on the QA IRC channel and via email on the QA mailing list.

    • A first look at Collabora/LibreOffice online (and a little bit of frustration)

      Recently, I read a blog article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols about an initiative from Collabora, an “Open Source consulting” firm, OwnCloud, an Open Source Cloud solution and the well-known LibreOffice office suite (actually a fork of OpenOffice.org, which itself is a fork of StarOffice), to release an online version of LibreOffice. Finally!

  • CMS

    • How to perform Drupal 7 integration tests with Red Test

      The spotlight is back on Drupal with the 8.0.0 release. The successful launch is a testament to the hard work put in by members of the Drupal community, but Drupal 7 still has a huge install base and likely will for many years to come. To support Drupal 7 development, let’s take a look at a testing platform built exclusively for the platform. Red Test is an open source integration testing framework aimed at making life easier for Drupal developers.

    • Drupal sites at risk due to insecure update mechanism

      The update mechanism of the popular Drupal content management system is insecure in several ways, allowing attackers to trick administrators into installing malicious updates.

      Researcher Fernando Arnaboldi from security firm IOActive noticed that Drupal will not inform administrators that an update check has failed, for example due to inability to access the update server. Instead, the back-end panel will continue to report that the CMS is up to date, even if it’s not.

      This can be a problem, considering that hackers are quick to exploit vulnerabilities in popular content management systems like Drupal, WordPress or Joomla, after they appear. In one case in 2014, users had only a seven-hour window to deploy a critical Drupal patch until attackers started exploiting the vulnerability that it fixed.

  • Education

    • How students can get started contributing to open source software

      As a student, getting involved in open source is a great way to improve your programming skills. From my experience, it can even help kickstart your career. But where do you begin? And how do you get involved?

      I started my open source journey during my high school days when I had a lot more free time on my hands (and lived on IRC). It was through that experience that I learned how to contribute to open source through communication media like IRC and Usenet. Open source has grown since those olden days, and there are now more formal ways to get involved with open source as a student.

    • Rapid Router: why Ocado Technology turned to open source

      Ocado Technology has open-sourced its free coding education application to encourage a wider community of contributors.

      The firm’s free Rapid Router coding education resource is teaching 38,500 people across the UK to code.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Facebook and Google Use Open Source To Recruit Developers

      Artificial Intelligence (AI)—technology that is adept at identifying images, recognizing spoken words and translating information from one language to another—is the hottest new topic in Silicon Valley. In fact, as of late, both Google and Facebook have found themselves in a race to secure the most brilliant software engineers to continuously improve upon this technology for their own purposes. Specifically, in an attempt to get a leg up on Google, Facebook recently opened sourced its AI software in an effort to draw in top-level developers.

    • How tech giants spread open source programming love

      “Go is a programming language designed by Google to help solve Google’s problems.” So said Rob Pike, one of the Go language’s designers.

      That may be the case, yet the open source language is increasingly being adopted by enterprises around the world for building applications at large scale.

  • BSD

    • Pre-5.9 pledge(2) update

      In a continuing series of pledge(2) reports, Theo de Raadt (deraadt@) gives us the latest update before the 5.9 freeze.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GnuTLS 3.4.8

      Released GnuTLS 3.3.20 and GnuTLS 3.4.8 which are bug fix releases in the previous and current stable branches.

    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Guillaume Roguez, Ring Project Director

      Ring is multi-media communication platform with secured multi-media channels, that doesn’t require centralized servers to work. It is developed by Savoir-faire Linux, a Canadian company located in Montréal, Québec. It is a potential free-software replacement for Skype, and possibly more.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Blackpool becomes third NHS trust to get open-source EPR

      Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the third UK health trust to decide to implement the open-source electronic patient record system (EPR) from supplier IMS Maxims.

      The trust began implementing the EPR in December and aims to go live within the next 12 months.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Seed — the past meets the future

      Open-source seeds offer farmers and alternative to other types of seeds.

    • The Origins of Totalitarianism: Interlude on The Commons

      One of the primary goals of neoliberals is to take over the commons.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source RISC-V Core Designs, Why Google Cares and Why They Matter

        The CPU is one of the most crucial components of our computers, responsible of performing basic calculations, logical comparisons and moving data around. These simple tasks are the building blocks of any more complex operation, and make running our systems and programs possible.

        How these operations are done is not random: an Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) defines what they are and what computer processors are supposed to do.

        An ISA defines supported instructions and features, but not how these instructions are specifically carried out. Think of it like a cooking recipe — let’s say it’s for bagels: while the recipe is the same, each chef will carry it out differently, arranging the sesame seeds differently for instance. The chef cooking based on the recipe is, in our example, the computer processor carrying out instructions as per the defined ISA. The result will always be the same in theory, though: a tasty bagel.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • North Korea’s Nuclear Ambition and the U.S. Presidential Campaign

      We must demand answers to these questions about the greatest imminent existential threat to our world. We cannot rely on the hope that someone else will take care of this or the notion that I cannot make a difference. In our democracy each of us has a duty and responsibility to be informed and to take action.

    • Media Demonstrate GOP Hypocrisy In Blaming Obama And Hillary Clinton For North Korea’s Nuclear Testing
    • Hillary Clinton Suggests She May Oppose Obama’s $1 Trillion Nuclear Arms Upgrade

      In October, the administration awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to develop next-generation long-range bombers capable of firing nuclear weapons, a project that analysts expect will swell to $80 billion.

    • To End North Korea’s Nuclear Program, End the Korean War

      Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test may be a last-ditch effort to get on the U.S. agenda before Obama leaves office and a hawkish new president comes in.

    • Taking on the Nuclear Goliath

      Say hello to the Marshall Islands, the tiny, heroic island nation in Micronesia, with a population just over 70,000. This former U.S. territory, which still bears the terrible scars of 67 above-ground nuclear blasts between 1946 and 1958, when this country used it as an expendable nuclear test site, has engaged the United States — and, indeed, all nine nations that possess nuclear weapons — in lawsuits demanding that they comply with the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and begin the process of negotiating global nuclear disarmament.

    • A lot of chatter about terrorism

      Tim Wilson (TW): Privacy is a human right, but there is a difference between privacy and secrecy. Private information is information that we don’t want publicly disclosed. But some of that information does need to be accessed by third parties such as the government. The issue and the challenge is, if the information is going to be disclosed, who gets to decide that and then who gets to access it, and under what circumstances.

      Think about it in terms of, for example, a data retention regime. If I use my phone now, I go through with my ISP and online content providers. At every point I have voluntarily said the trade-off for accessing information is that I have put out a certain amount of material about myself to these different companies. The question is how they long they store my information for, and who can access and on what terms.

    • New Research Explains Why Immigrants Are Fleeing Latin America

      In 2005, Mexico’s homicide rates was 9.5 homicides per 100,000 people. By 2010, that rate more than doubled to 22 per 100,000. Homicides have not subsided — May 2015 saw at least 1,621 homicides, marking one of the deadliest months since January 2014.

    • Saudi Arabia: the West’s Chosen Islamist Head-Cutters

      The latest executions in Saudi Arabia should make it very clear that the Western powers’ “war on terror” has nothing to do with opposition to chopping off heads and sectarian religious fanaticism. Instead of condemning this crime, the U.S., UK and other Western powers have continued to give the Saudi regime, if not their public political blessing, at least their practical backing – in the name of the necessary alliances they claim flow from that “war on terror”.

    • Why Is North Korea Our Problem?

      Why, then, are 25,000 U.S. troops still in South Korea?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Look Into the Future at How TPP Could Create Environmental Nightmares

      The TPP makes the rights of companies sacrosanct, including the right to mine. But what about the rights of people who live in the way of proposed mining sites?

    • ‘Environmental’ Comic Strip’s Author Wants Global Warming Believers to ‘Get Real’

      The leading environmental-themed comic strip in the United States, Mark Trail, is apparently written by a climate-change denier.

      The strip’s expanded Sunday editions are intended to be educational, and this week’s (1/3/16) featured a lesson about sulfur dioxide. “Sulfur dioxide is a major cause of acid rain!” the title character, a naturalist, exclaims. He notes that it’s “a byproduct of large-scale farms, power plants and other industries,” as well as “the burning of fossil fuels by large transportation vehicles.”

    • Republicans Are Pushing a Bill That Could Make It Much Harder to Sue Volkswagen

      Volkswagen will likely be spending a lot of time in court over the next few years. On Monday, the automaker was presented with a new lawsuit from the Justice Department over allegations that it had illegally rigged half a million cars sold in the United States to cheat on emissions tests. The suit is the first step the Obama administration has taken to hold VW accountable for the scandal, and it could leave the company on the hook for billions of dollars in fines. Federal criminal charges could also be forthcoming.

      Meanwhile, VW is also facing a torrent of outrage from some of the folks who bought those cars, which include the diesel-powered versions of Jetta and Golf models made since 2009. A court in Northern California is scheduled to decide this month whether to hear a group of more than 350 class-action lawsuits from VW customers who feel they were misled about the environmental benefits of the cars before buying them.

    • Warming fuels rise in methane threat

      Higher temperatures and permafrost thaw could cause an increase of up to 50 per cent in emissions of a key greenhouse gas from northern lakes and ponds by 2100.

    • Calls for Michigan Gov. Snyder’s Arrest as Flint Poisoning Scandal Implicates Top Staffers

      “The source of the Flint Water Crisis leads directly to Gov. Rick Snyder and the fiscal austerity policies that he and his Republican colleagues have been pushing for years on Michigan residents,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan,” in a statement released Thursday. “Families in Flint were forced to drink lead-tainted water while the administration scoffed at their concerns and cries for help. An entire generation of Michiganders now face an uncertain future because of Republican cuts to essential and life-giving services.”

    • How Michigan literally poisoned an entire city to save a few bucks

      You know what’s bad? Brain damage.

      Flint, Michigan, is finding this out after it accidentally gave its entire population at least a little bit of lead poisoning when it switched up their water supply. In an attempt to save money for a cash-strapped city, Flint started drinking water from the Flint River — but ended up contaminating children with a poisonous heavy metal. Governor Rick Snyder has declared a state of emergency, and the federal government is investigating.

    • Calls for Michigan Gov. Snyder’s Arrest as Flint Poisoning Scandal Implicates Top Staffers
    • The Geopolitics of Cheap Oil

      There are a number of reasons for the price drop, but it boils down to supply (more of it) and demand (less of it). The United States boosted oil production by 66 percent over the last five years, making it the largest oil and natural gas producer in the world in 2015. Other producers, like Saudi Arabia, also didn’t scale back, in part to stick it to a sanctions-hobbled Iran and snatch up its clients. Meanwhile, greater fuel efficiency and slower economic growth around the world (particularly in China) have reduced demand.

    • How the Koch Brothers’ ‘Bankers’ Snuck an Anti-Wind Op-Ed Past the New York Times

      Since 1997, the Kochs have given more than $79 million to groups that distort climate science and malign renewable energy.

    • TransCanada Goes Legal On US Government Over The Rejection Of Keystone; Will It Wake Obama To The Problems Of Corporate Sovereignty?

      Over the last few years, there’s been a big controversy over the Keystone XL pipeline project, a massive planned project to build an oil pipeline from Canada to the US that many folks had been protesting, and which (after years and years of debate), President Obama finally rejected a few months back. That’s not a topic that we’ve really covered here, other than a single mention when we questioned why the FBI had spied on activists protesting the potential pipeline.

    • The Company Behind Keystone XL Now Wants $15 Billion From US Taxpayers

      In its NAFTA complaint, TransCanada alleges that “the politically-driven denial of Keystone’s application was contrary to all precedent; inconsistent with any reasonable and expected application of the relevant rules and regulations; and arbitrary, discriminatory, and expropriatory.”

    • Trans-Canada Sue US Government for $15 Billion over Tar Sands Pipeline Cancellation
    • The EPA Finally Admitted That the World’s Most Popular Pesticide Kills Bees—20 Years Too Late

      Bees are dying in record numbers—and now the government admits that an extremely common pesticide is at least partially to blame.

    • Exposing the EPA’s Dark Side

      The federal agency has a broken process for regulating pesticides.

    • It’s Official: 2015 Was America’s Second-Hottest Year on Record

      It’s official. The United States roasted in 2015. All that unseasonably warm December weather that saw flowers blooming in Central Park and shirtless Christmas Day volleyball set a record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which released its year-end findings on Thursday. In fact, 29 states in the eastern half of the country experienced their hottest Decembers on record, a phenomenon that sealed 2015′s fate: It was the second-warmest year ever recorded in the contiguous United States.

    • Severe cold causing havoc on railway, public transport

      The deep freeze that has descended upon Finland is causing disruptions to train traffic in several areas of the country. On Wednesday night some trains were delayed by hours and problems appear to be continuing.

    • Governor declares state of emergency in connection with California methane leak

      On Wednesday evening, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County in connection with a massive natural gas leak that’s ongoing at a Southern California Gas Company storage facility. The leak, which began on October 23, has been spewing methane into the air at a rate of tens of thousands of kilograms (PDF) per hour.

      Governor Brown’s declaration of a state of emergency requires that SoCal Gas and other gas storage facility operators throughout California start conducting daily inspections of well heads and implement infrared imaging technology to detect leaks. Facility operators will have to monitor the wells for mechanical integrity, gas pressure, and safety on an ongoing basis.

      The emergency declaration doesn’t earmark any state funds to help fund a cleanup, but it orders the California Public Utilities Commission to “ensure that Southern California Gas Company covers costs related to the natural gas leak and its response, while protecting ratepayers.”

  • Finance

    • Con man Chancellor George Osborne terrified game is up amid dire economic warnings

      Con man George Osborne screeching “Not me, Gov!” is the whine of a spineless Chancer of the Exchequer terrified the game is up.

      Blaming everything and everybody except himself for Britain’s faltering economic “recovery” – China, oil, Middle East, that big boy with a stick who ran away – is the spineless politics of a dishonest politician.

      Oh my how his tune has changed, not since an election when Osborne deliberately gave the impression we’d be wading knee deep in milk and honey to swindle voters, but also from just before Christmas when, boasted the Treasury chiseller, the country was “growing fast”.

      Spewing out alibis for the gathering storm after statisticians cut growth figures will convince only the criminally gullible.

    • Everything Is (Even More) Awesome!

      As we enter 2016, Americans are still feeling grouchy. Only one-fourth of the public believes the United States is heading in the right direction. The Republican presidential debates have been malaise-a-thons, competitions to portray American decline in the most apocalyptic terms possible, while Bernie Sanders is pursuing the Democratic nomination with a message so depressing that professional curmudgeon Larry David has basically played him straight. A year after I wrote an article only somewhat ironically titled Everything Is Awesome, cable news is an endless Debbie Downer loop of terrorism fears and market jitters, periodically interrupted by a weirdly coifed nativist blowhard promising to Make America Great Again.

    • K12 Inc. Tries to Pivot from Virtual School Failures to Profit from “Non-Managed” Schools

      Big, Big Payouts to Execs at Taxpayer Expense

      In its recommendation that shareholders vote against the pay proposal, the advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co. said K12 exemplifies a “substantial disconnect between compensation and performance results.” Glass Lewis gave the company an “F” for how it paid its executives compared to peers.

      In 2015, K12 CEO Nathaniel Davis was making $5.3 million and CFO James Rhyu was making $3.6 million. Their base salaries were $700,000 and 478,500, respectively, which were dwarfed by additional pay and stock for their “performance.” (See more details on their total compensation in the pdf uploaded below.)

      In all, K12′s five highest paid executives received a total of more than $12 million in compensation last year. That’s one of the reasons CMD has called K12 Inc.’s former CEO, Ron Packard, the highest paid elementary and secondary school educator in the nation.

    • This Map Shows How Student Debt Is Crushing Your Community

      Student debt is an elephant in the room of the American economy. Total educational debt has ballooned from $840 billion in 2010 to more than $1.3 trillion this year, according to the Federal Reserve. And yet the Education Department has been reluctant to share data on the federal government’s student loan portfolio, meaning that, until recently, there has been very little detailed information available on the burgeoning crisis.

    • Denials and devaluation as China’s currency tumbles to five-year low

      The phrase “currency war” speaks to a seemingly phoney battle between the world’s major trading powers over the price of exports. It has all the attributes of an illusory conflict because no one ever agrees that a genuine dispute has taken place. And as long as everyone denies they have drawn swords to slash their currency to compete with rival powers, talk of a war fizzles and dies.

    • Is a $15 an Hour Minimum Wage Adequate?

      Social movements calling for raising the minimum wage to $15/ hour with yearly adjustments for increases in the cost of living deserve support. However, earning $15/ hour will not guarantee a decent standard of living.

      An individual working forty hours a week at $15/ hour for an entire year earns $31,200, an income that is more than two and a half times the 2014 official poverty threshold of $12,316 for one adult. One might readily conclude that this individual is doing well since $15/ hour is also more than twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25/ hour.

    • Making America safer for predatory capitalism

      Forcing customers into arbitration makes it easier to rip them off

    • Bernie Sander’s Plan to Tame Wall Street Riles Team Clinton

      Sanders’ presidential campaign is making history in other ways. Sanders raised more than $33 million in the final three months of last year, $73 million for the year, compared to Clinton’s $37 million in the last quarter for a total of $112 million for the year. But the vast majority of Sanders big bucks came from very small donors. The 2,513,665 donations to Sanders’ campaign broke the record set four years ago by President Barack Obama’s re-election committee.

    • How Corrupt Officials Screwed Up An Extremely Poor Town’s Big Break

      But while the columns hearken back to the town’s prosperous times, Yanceyville has long been one of the poorest places in the country. More than half of the population lived below the poverty line in 2013 and the median household income was $14,500. Poverty falls harder on African-American residents, 64 percent of whom lived below the poverty line, compared to 29 percent of white residents. At the county level, African Americans suffer from an unemployment rate of 18 percent (although as recently as 2011, it was over 20 percent).

    • How Jeb Bush Plans To Destroy Anti-Poverty Programs
    • Turkey Seeks Inclusion in US-EU TTIP Free Trade Deal – Turkish Deputy PM

      Turkey hopes to renegotiate its current trade agreements with the European Union, so it can be included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade deal between the United States and EU, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wash. Post Highlights How Trump’s Media Dominance “Obscure[s]” Ted Cruz’s Extremism — To His Benefit

      The Washington Post’s David Weigel highlighted how Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz “actually benefits from Trump’s full-spectrum dominance of the national media conversation,” which “obscure[s]” Cruz’s extreme positions.

    • Ted Cruz is a Natural Born Citizen

      May lightening not strike me, but I am going to help Ted Cruz now. Ted is a natural-born citizen and he can be president. There is no ambiguity, no legal question. It is very clear.

    • O’Reilly: Trump’s Attack Ad Against Hillary Clinton Is So Vile It Might Have Been Made By Hitler
    • The Problem With Hillary Clinton Using a Progressive Hero to Attack Bernie Sanders

      Hillary Clinton is using a prominent surrogate to attack Bernie Sanders’s emphatic proposals for reforming Wall Street: Gary Gensler, former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

      Gensler, who is the Clinton campaign’s chief financial officer, has enormous credibility among financial reformers after his aggressive (and lonely) efforts to rein in banks during the early years of the Obama administration.

    • Feminism A Neo-Con Tool

      Catching up on a fortnight’s news, I have spent five hours searching in vain for criticism of Simon Danczuk from prominent or even just declared feminists. The Guardian was the obvious place to start, but while they had two articles by feminist writers condemning Chris Gayle’s clumsy attempt to chat up a presenter, their legion of feminist columnists were entirely silent on Danczuk. The only opinion piece was strongly defending him.

      This is very peculiar. The allegation against Danczuk which is under police investigation – of initiating sex with a sleeping woman – is identical to the worst interpretation of the worst accusation against Julian Assange. The Assange allegation brought literally hundreds, probably thousands of condemnatory articles from feminist writers across the entire range of the mainstream media. I have dug up 57 in the Guardian alone with a simple and far from exhaustive search. In the case of Danczuk I can find nothing, zilch, nada. Not a single feminist peep.

      The Assange case is not isolated. Tommy Sheridan has been pursuing a lone legal battle against the Murdoch empire for a decade, some of it in prison when the judicial system decided his “perjury” was imprisonable but Andy Coulson’s admitted perjury on the Murdoch side in the same case was not. I personally witnessed in court in Edinburgh last month Tommy Sheridan, with no lawyer (he has no money) arguing against a seven man Murdoch legal team including three QCs, that a letter from the husband of Jackie Bird of BBC Scotland should be admitted in evidence. Bird was working for Murdoch and suggested in his letter that a witness should be “got out of the country” to avoid giving evidence. The bias exhibited by the leading judge I found astonishing beyond belief. I was the only media in the court.

    • Wall Street Journal Flip-Flops To Attack Obamacare, Praise GOP

      Reversing on their past condemnation of the use of a budget procedure called “reconciliation,” The Wall Street Journal praised Republicans for using the tactic in their latest attempt to repeal Obamacare. The Journal also bashed, the law falsely claiming the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has resulted in “huge” premium increases, and showed little concern for the millions of Americans who would lose healthcare if the law is repealed.

    • Just Because Donald Trump Says It Doesn’t Mean You Have to Report It

      Stop it, stop it, stop it, STOP IT! Just because Donald Trump says something calculatingly stupid and provocative doesn’t mean it has to be reported as front-page news. Everyone knows that his “Cruz is a Canadian” thing is ridiculous—and he wouldn’t bother saying it if he didn’t know that it was going to get loudly amplified by a media that just can’t say no to him.

    • Washington Post Fact Checker Has A Double Standard On Gun Claims

      Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler ruled that a true statement by President Obama on how guns are sold was inaccurate because it was “confusing,” just weeks after writing that an unprovable claim about mass shootings made by GOP hopeful Marco Rubio was true.

    • Official Member Of Trump Campaign Joins Oregon Militia

      The co-chairman of Donald Trump’s New Hampshire “Veterans for Trump” group has arrived in Burns, Oregon, to assist the small cadre of armed men who are seeking to provoke a standoff with federal officials there.

      That not-quite-standoff began over the weekend when a handful of men led by Ammon Bundy decided to turn a much larger peaceful protest over a decision to send two ranchers back to jail for arson into an armed struggle. The group’s numbers are small – especially compared to the 300 who reportedly joined the peaceful protest of the re-sentencing – but they have now been reinforced by Jerry DeLemus, a former United States Marine living on the opposite side of the country.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • More Needs to be Done to Strengthen Protection of Human Subjects in Scientific Experiments

      The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a sweeping update to the federal regulations that govern scientific experiments involving human subjects, whether it’s studying behavior, testing biological specimens, or analyzing DNA. While the proposed policy [.pdf] generally moves in the right direction, EFF has filed formal comments outlining several serious concerns about how these rules will impact privacy.

      The “Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects”—often referred to as the “Common Rule”—is the ethical framework for biomedical and behavioral research established in the wake of medical scandals that shook the nation, including the now infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, in which the U.S. government withheld treatment and medical information from rural African-American men suffering from the disease. Much of the Common Rule revolves around two concepts: informed consent and independent review. These principles reflect the need for people need to know the risks and benefits and what will happen to their specimens before agreeing to participate in an experiment and the idea that researchers will make better ethical decisions with the guidance of oversight bodies.

    • Fort Dix Five: Prosecuted by Christie, Muslim Brothers Get Rare Day in Court in FBI Entrapment Case

      In 2008, the Duka brothers—Shain, Dritan and Eljvir—were among five men from suburban New Jersey who were convicted of conspiring to kill American soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base. The three are serving life sentences, but their supporters say the men were entrapped by the FBI. On Wednesday, the three brothers appeared in a courthouse in Camden, New Jersey, for a rare court-ordered hearing to determine whether they received a fair trial and effective representation from their lawyers. We bring you voices from a rally organized in support of the three Duka brothers and speak with Robert Boyle, attorney for Shain Duka.

    • As Chris Christie Rises in Polls, Appeal of His Fort Dix Terrorism Case Moves Ahead

      A detailed investigation published last year by The Intercept suggested that the plot against the military base had actually been fomented by highly-paid government informants. Mahmoud Omar, one of the informants, told The Intercept that he believed the Dukas were innocent, describing them as “good people.”

    • U.S. Cops Already Killed More Since Xmas Than UK Cops Have Killed in Five Years

      In all of 2011, British police killed two people. In 2012, one. In 2013, a total of three shots were fired by British police, and no one was killed. In the last two years, a total of three people lost their lives because of British cops, bringing the total number of citizens killed in the UK to all of seven in the last five years.

    • Nebraska routinely holds children in solitary confinement, report finds

      Solitary confinement is a commonplace experience for children held in Nebraska juvenile detention facilities, a report has shown, with minors routinely detained in isolation for days, weeks, even months at a time.

      To varying degrees, in each of the state’s nine juvenile facilities children are placed in solitary confinement for “relatively minor offenses” such as keeping too many books, according to the report compiled by the state’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter. Other infractions triggering the “overused” practice included talking back to staff members or refusing to follow directions.

    • Report: Nebraska Lets Juveniles Be Locked in Solitary Confinement for 90 Days

      As a teenager, Jacob Rusher was detained at the Douglas County Youth Facility in Omaha, Nebraska. After he broke his ankle, he was told that he was being placed in “lockdown” — a form of solitary confinement — for “his own good.” He spent three months there, often pounding against the door begging to be released.

      “It was 23 hours a day alone, no TV or radio. You were in there with one book, a blanket, a mat, and a toothbrush. No art materials, no hobby items — everything was considered contraband,” he told the ACLU of Nebraska. “Nighttimes, you’d get a little crazy. They kept the light on and would wake us up every hour to check on you so you’d never get any good sleep.”

    • Washington’s Multi-Million-Dollar Saudi PR Machine

      Public image isn’t something one can always control, but Saudi Arabia is spending millions of dollars on Washington lobbyists and PR firms to improve the Kingdom’s reputation in the West. The execution of Shiite leader Sheik Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, followed by an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the Kingdom’s severing of diplomatic relations with Iran, would seem to offer few upsides for the Saudi government. Riyadh’s behavior comes across as a desperate Hail-Mary pass to isolate Iran at the expense of regional efforts to negotiate a de-escalation of the Syrian civil war and defeat the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

    • Two Years Behind Bars or 20? One Day, a Computer Formula May Have a Say

      Just looking at a defendant’s criminal record to decide a sentence could be racially biased, Ghandnoosh argues. “Criminal history measures criminal justice policies,” she said, adding that “people of color are more likely to be surveilled and arrested and convicted” for crimes, especially less serious ones. The fact that police departments tend to focus more on minorities means minorities are more likely to be arrested, which means members of these groups are more likely to have criminal records in the first place.

    • Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, American War Crimes, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

      Yes, you read that correctly: tiny numbers of Americans live on a different tax planet from the rest of us. They’ve paid for the privilege, of course, and increasingly for the political class that oversees how our country runs. They’ve insulated themselves in a largely tax-free zone that ensures their “equality” before the law (such as it is) and your deepening inequality before the same — and before them. Their actions have garnered them the ultimate in impunity. In this election season in a country of more than 300 million people, for instance, a mere 158 families (and the companies they control) are putting their (largely tax-free) dollars where our mouths once were. By October, they had provided almost half the money thus far raised by presidential candidates in a move meant to ensure that American democracy becomes their system, their creature. (“Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.”)

    • FBI Helps Shut Down Seattle Sex-Work Review Board

      So perhaps the only surprising thing about this Review Board situation is it produced a local TV news report (featuring Reason contributor Maggie McNeill) that doesn’t merely parrot police talking points. Newscasters actually allow sex workers to speak for themselves about the site’s shutdown and how it puts them at risk, while noting that Seattle recently received a $1.5 million grant from the Justice Department to help “eradicate human trafficking” and “end modern slavery.”

    • Don’t Fear the Refugees

      Americans are skeptical and afraid of allowing Middle East refugees into this country. Should they be?

    • The refugee question in Europe: ‘south’ vs ‘east’

      The refugee crisis has triggered a diplomatic row between Greece and certain ‘new’ member-states from Central and Eastern Europe. Does this tell us something about the various shades of Euroscepticism, whether ‘soft’ or ‘hard’, in the peripheries of the EU?

    • Govt Pays Millions in Reparations to 57 Victims of Worst Cop in History – Who Still Receives a Pension

      Former Chicago Police Commander received 13 commendations before his termination for torturing over 200 citizens.

    • Tunisia’s fight against its revolutionary youth

      The threat of terrorism has been exploited to justify anti-democratic laws and an escalation of arrests and detentions, apparently more focused on silencing dissent than anything else.

    • The illusion of security

      Jérémie Zimmermann (JZ): In the last year and a half, four security laws have been adopted in France in the name of combating terrorism. Now would be the right time to question their efficiency.

      Things did not start with Charlie Hebdo: in the last 15 years about fifteen other bills were adopted which closely followed the example of the US and some other European countries after 9/11. The most recent law, prolonging the state of emergency to three months and even renewable for longer, is the most striking because it coincides with the collective emotional shock and disorientation of French society as a whole after November 13. This state of emergency was adopted in an extremely rushed procedure, almost overnight, with no room for debate, so that one might surmise that most of the MPs did not have time to read the bill they voted for. It seems as if the political process has been poisoned by the intelligence agencies, who are given more power with less accountability requested every time they fail, so that this efficiency cannot even be assessed properly. We are in a downwards spiral, where policies that are driven by fear undermine the rule of law and fundamental rights, in favour of an illusion of more security.

    • 7 Myths About Gun Violence in America, Debunked

      On live television Thursday evening, President Barack Obama will hold a town hall meeting about gun violence. He will take questions from participants who support tighter gun laws and from others who want fewer restrictions on guns. It’s a prime-time moment for separating fact from fiction—so here’s a shortlist, with the data to back it up.

    • Wearing the Hijab in Solidarity Perpetuates Oppression

      Saturday night at the Dar Al Noor mosque in Manassas, Va., near Civil War battlefields, a girl of about 7 sat cross-legged in a dimly lit back corner of the prayer hall in the cramped “sisters’ section.” A tinted waist-high glass barrier separated the girl from the spacious “brothers’ section,” where about 50 men listened intently to a Saudi preacher who ignored the “sisters.”

      The girl’s hair was entirely covered by a scarf, per the mosque’s guidelines for “proper Islamic attire, including Hijab for girls, while boys dress modestly.”

      As mainstream Muslim women, we see the girl’s headscarf not as a signal of “choice,” but as a symbol of a dangerous purity culture, obsessed with honor and virginity, that has divided Muslim communities in our own civil war, or fitna, since the Saudi and Iranian regimes promulgated puritanical interpretations of Sunni and Shia Islam, after the 1970s Saudi oil boom and the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

    • Muslim cleric vows to behead anyone who speaks against Islam – Watch

      New Delhi: A Muslim cleric stirred a controversy recently when he announced on live TV that he would behead any person who speaks against Islam.

    • Saudi executions: beyond the numbers

      Freedom is the ability to speak out, including against the ruler, according to one’s opinions and beliefs, even—and especially—if those opinions and beliefs run counter to the ruling class or majority opinion.

    • Tears
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Binge On Lite? Ask for the Truth about T-Mobile Video Throttling

      Now, T-Mobile is on the defensive. John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, is hosting a Q&A on Twitter today, starting at noon Pacific time, in an attempt to quell concerns. That means concerned members of the digital public have an opportunity to discuss the issues directly with Mr. Legere. Just use the hastag #AskJohn.

    • T-Mobile Doubles Down On Its Blatant Lies, Says Claims It’s Throttling Are ‘Bullshit’ And That I’m A ‘Jerk’

      There were a bunch of problems with this, starting with the fact that favoring some partner traffic over others to exempt it from a cap (i.e., zero rating) is a sketchy way to backdoor in net neutrality violations. But, the bigger issue was that almost everything about T-Mobile’s announcement implied that it was only “partner” video that was being “optimized” while the reality was that they were doing it for any video they could find (even downloaded, not streamed). The biggest problem of all, however, was that the video was not being “optimized” but throttled by slowing down video.

      Once the throttling was called out, T-Mobile went on a weird PR campaign, flat out lying, and saying that what they were doing was “optimizing” not throttling and that it would make videos stream faster and save users data. However, as we pointed out, that’s blatantly false. Videos from YouTube, for example, were encrypted, meaning that T-Mobile had no way to “optimize” it, and tests from EFF proved pretty conclusively that the only thing T-Mobile was doing was slowing connection speeds down to 1.5 Mbps when it sensed video downloads of any kind (so not even streaming), and that actually meant that the full amount of data was going through in many cases, rather than an “optimized” file. EFF even got T-Mobile to admit that this was all they were doing.

    • John Legere asks EFF, “Who the f**k are you, and who pays you?”
    • T-Mobile’s John Legere Goes Off The Deep End: ‘Who The Fuck Are You, EFF?’
    • T-Mobile Confirms It Slows Connections to Video Sites
    • T-Mobile CEO to EFF: ‘Who the Fuck Are You?’
    • Friends, Please Tell T-Mobile’s CEO About EFF

      We think the best response comes from the community of people who support our work. As a member-funded organization, EFF exists because of the donations of tens of thousands of regular people. And as an advocacy organization fighting for civil liberties in the digital world, we are able to influence powerful entities—from heads of state to elected officials to tech giants—because so many people stand with.

    • As Its CEO Continues To Claim It Doesn’t Throttle, T-Mobile Spokesperson Confirms Company Throttles

      And yet now the company is admitting that they are, in fact, slowing down YouTube, not “optimizing” it or making the resolution lower. As I said at the time, T-Mobile is flat out lying. And now two statements from the company directly contradict each other, and the company’s CEO is still insisting that the company isn’t doing what the company admits it’s doing.

      I’ve seen some corporate snafu meltdowns before, but this is reaching epic levels — and that’s bad news for a company that had spent so much time building up a reputation as a “straight shooter.” Good reputations are hard to build, but easy to let slip away….

    • Streaming Video Company Drops Out Of BingeOn To Protest John Legere’s Attack On EFF; It Will Still Get Throttled, Though

      Well, this has really turned into quite a week for T-Mobile CEO John Legere, huh? First, his lies about BingeOn throttling were exposed. Then he doubled down on the lie insisting that BingeOn wasn’t throttling despite clear evidence that it is. Then, he attacked EFF for exposing his lie. All the meanwhile, T-Mobile spokespeople were confirming that the company is, absolutely, slowing down all video traffic.

      And it appears the fallout from this keeps spreading. Legere keeps touting the number of partner video companies that have signed up for BingeOn, but it appears that number needs to go down by one.

  • DRM

    • Warner Bros and Intel Sue 4k Content Protection “Stripper”

      Warner Bros. and Intel’s daughter company Digital Content Protection have sued a hardware manufacturer that creates devices enabling consumers to bypass 4K copy protection. The devices, sold under the HDFury brand, can be used by pirates to copy 4k video from streaming platforms as well as other HDCP 2.2 protected content.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Target cleared in Rosa Parks image rights dispute

      Rosa Parks may be best known for her refusal to move from her seat on the bus, but her many years of campaigning for equality places her at the centre of the civil rights movement story in the US.

      And according to a judgment handed down by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit yesterday, January 4, it is important that the story continues to be promoted without too many restrictions.

    • New Year Brings New Faces To IP World, Bids Others Farewell

      The New Year brings some new faces in the intellectual property world as several changes were announced at the end of 2015, in particular at the European Commission, in the private sector and non-governmental organisations. In Geneva, the coordination of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries changes, and the UN Plant Treaty is working on intersessional committees. And a leading light in the IP publishing world has retired.

    • Cartoonist Who Claimed ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Ripped Off His Work Might Be Headed To Prison

      Jayme Gordon, the other person to sue Dreamworks for allegedly copying his work has won the Worst Outcome Ever sweepstakes. The cartoonist claimed Dreamworks ripped off his sketches and he seemingly had the evidence to prove this — including a rarity in many of these little-guy-sues-big-studio lawsuits: actual registered works.

      Gordon demanded $12 million and a cut of the proceeds. He survived a motion to dismiss and seemed ready to take a serious run at the studio. Two years after he filed the lawsuit, Gordon suddenly dismissed it with prejudice and received no settlement for doing so.

      [...]

      That’s the bogus part of this prosecution. Sure, perjury is a given, considering the evidence uncovered by Dreamworks’ lawyers. But wire fraud? That’s just charge stacking. This office, however, isn’t exactly shy about trumping up charges to make itself seem more impressive. It’s the same US Attorney’s Office that was behind the investigation and prosecution of Aaron Swartz, so this could go very, very badly for Gordon.

    • Trademarks

      • Australian Federal Court Prevents Registration of the Word ‘Yellow’ As Trade Mark

        Yellow is one of this writer’s least favourite colours. Garish, sickeningly bright, and forever tarnished by its association with both liver disease and the band Coldplay, yellow is highly, highly overrated. But, credit where credit is due, it does tend to make things stand out. For this reason, it is the colour of choice for school buses, road signs, and, for historically anomalous reasons, telephone business directories – commonly known as Yellow Pages. This phrase, as well as its accompanying ‘Walking Fingers’ logo, are registered trade marks in many countries around the world, including the UK, Canada, and Australia – though curiously not the United States.

    • Copyrights

      • NY Public Library Embraces The Public Domain Big Time: Releases 180,000 High Resolution Images

        There’s some wonderful news from the NY Public Library, which has released over 180,000 high resolution digital images of public domain works that it found in its collection. We’ve seen too many organizations, mainly museums, try to claim copyright over public domain works, or otherwise limit access. The NY Public Library, on the other hand, is going the other direction. Not only are they releasing these works and making it clear that the works are in the public domain, but they’re releasing them as high resolution images and actively encouraging people to make use of them.

      • ‘Monkey selfie’ copyright claim rejected

        A US court has dismissed a claim filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in which the organisation claimed that the copyright to the ‘monkey selfie’ photograph should belong to a macaque ape.

        Judge William Orrick of the US District Court for the Northern District of California rejected PETA’s claim yesterday, January 6, stating that it is a matter for Congress not the courts.

      • German Publishers Still Upset That Google Sends Them Traffic Without Paying Them Too; File Lawsuit

        Oh boy. Remember VG Media? That’s the consortium of German news publishers who were so damn angry that Google News sends them all sorts of traffic without also paying them. A year and a half ago, they demanded money from Google. That failed, so they went crying to German regulators who laughed off the request. After there were some concerns that a new “ancillary copyright” right regime in Germany might require payment for posting such snippets, Google properly responded by removing the snippets for those publishers, who totally freaked out and called it blackmail.

      • Techdirt Reading Club: The Boy Who Could Change The World: The Writings Of Aaron Swartz

        We’re back again with another in our weekly reading list posts of books we think our community will find interesting and thought provoking. Once again, buying the book via the Amazon links in this story also helps support Techdirt.
        This week we have a brand new book, but one I’m disappointed needs to be a book. It’s the collected writings of Aaron Swartz, called The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz. As I’ve noted in the past, I knew Aaron as we worked in similar circles and interacted on a bunch of occasions, though I didn’t know him well. But, more importantly, I’d actually been following Aaron’s writings on his personal blog and elsewhere from a very early age (I particularly remember following his writings about his experience as a freshman at Stanford). As you probably know by now, Aaron committed suicide almost three years ago, while dealing with a ridiculous federal prosecution for downloading too many academic papers from a computer system at MIT, where the license was clear anyone could download as much as they wanted.

      • The New York Public Library Just Unleashed 180,000 Free Images. We Can’t Stop Looking at Them.

        The New York Public Library just digitized and made available more than 180,000 high resolution items, which the public can download for free.

        The images come from pieces in the library’s collection that have fallen out of copyright or are otherwise in the public domain. This includes botanical illustrations, ancient texts, historical maps–including the incredible Green Book collection of travel guides for African American travelers in mid-1900s. They’ve also released more than 40,000 stereoscopes, Berenice Abbott’s amazing documentation of New York City in 1930s and Lewis Hines’ photos of Ellis Island immigrants, as well as the letters of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, among other political figures.

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    Links for the day



  5. Benoît Battistelli Should Resign in Light of New Leak of Decision in His Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Judge (Updated)

    Benoît Battistelli continues to break the EPO's own rules, not just national laws, as a new decision helps reveal



  6. Fake Patents on Software From Fake Australian 'Inventor' of Bitcoin and the Globally-Contagious Nature of EPO Patent Scope

    News from Australia regarding software patents that should not be granted and how patent lawyers from Australia rely on European patent law (EPO and UK-IPO) for guidance on patent scope



  7. Patent Lawyers Love (and Amplify) Halo and Enfish, Omit or Dismiss Cuozzo and Alice

    By misinterpreting the current situation with respect to software patents and misusing terms like "innovation" patent lawyers and others in the patent microcosm hope to convince the public (or potential clients) that nothing in effect has changed and software patents are all fine and dandy



  8. Looks Increasingly Plausible That Battistelli is Covering up Bogus and/or Illegally-Obtained 'Evidence' From the EPO's Investigative Unit

    Why we believe that Benoît Battistelli is growingly desperate to hide evidence of rogue evidence-collecting operations which eventually landed himself -- not the accused -- in a catastrophic situation that can force his resignation



  9. As Decision on the UK's EU Status Looms, EPO Deep in a Crisis of Patent Quality

    Chaotic situation at the EPO and potential changes in the UK cause a great deal of debate about the UPC, which threatens to put the whole or Europe at the mercy of patent trolls from abroad



  10. Another Demonstration by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff on Same Day as Administrative Council's Meeting

    SUEPO (staff union of the EPO) continues to organise staff actions against extraordinary injustice by Benoît Battistelli and his flunkies whom he gave top positions at the EPO



  11. Links 23/6/2016: Red Hat Results, Randa Stories

    Links for the day



  12. Interview With FOSSForce/All Things Free Tech

    New interview with Robin "Roblimo" Miller on behalf of FOSSForce



  13. Links 22/6/2016: PulseAudio 9.0, GNOME 3.21.3 Released

    Links for the day



  14. IP Europe's UPC Lobbying and the EPO Connection

    The loose but seemingly ever-growing connections between AstroTurfing groups like IP Europe (pretending to represent SMEs) and EPO staff which is lobbying-centric



  15. EPO “Recruitment of Brits is Down by 80%”

    Letter says that “recruitment of Brits is down by 80%” and "the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year"



  16. The Conspiracy of Patent Lawyers for UPC and Battistelli's Role in Preparing by Firing People

    The parasitic firms that lobby for the UPC and actually create it -- firms like those that pass money to Battistelli's EPO -- are doing exactly the opposite of what Europe needs



  17. Patent Lawyers, Having Lost Much of the Battle for Software Patents in the US, Resort to Harmful Measures and Spin

    A quick glance at how patent lawyers and their lobbyists/advocates have reacted to the latest decision from the US Supreme Court (Justice Breyer)



  18. Links 21/6/2016: Fedora 24 and Point Linux MATE 3.2 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  19. Supreme Court on Cuozzo v Lee Another Major Loss for Software Patents in the United States

    Much-anticipated decision on the Cuozzo v Lee case (at the highest possible level) serves to defend the appeal boards which are eliminating software patents by the thousands



  20. As Alice Turns Two, Bilski Blog Says 36,000 (Software) Patent Applications Have Been Rejected Thanks to It

    A look back at the legacy of Alice v CLS Bank and how it contributed to the demise of software patents in the United States, the birthplace of software patents



  21. EPO Self-Censorship by IP Kat or Just Censorship of Opinions That IP Kat Does Not Share/Accept (Updated)

    ree speech when it's needed the most (EPO scandals) needs to be respected; or why IP Kat shoots itself in the foot and helps the EPO's management by 'sanitising' comments



  22. Caricature: Bygmalion Patent Office

    The latest cartoon regarding Battistelli's European Patent Office



  23. Links 21/6/2016: GNU/Linux in China's HPC, Linux 4.7 RC4

    Links for the day



  24. Under Battistelli's Regime the EPO is a Lawless, Dark Place

    How the EPO's Investigative Unit (IU) and Control Risks Group (CRG), which is connected to the Stasi through Desa, made the EPO virtually indistinguishable from East Germany (coat of arms/emblem above)



  25. New Paper Demonstrates That Unitary Patent (UPC) is Little More Than a Conspiracy of Patent 'Professionals' and Their Self Interest

    Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna's latest paper explains that the UPC “expert teams” are in fact not experts but people who are using the UPC as a Trojan horse by which to promote their business interests and corporate objectives



  26. Money Flying to Private Companies Without Tenders at Battistelli's EPO (by the Tens of Millions!)

    Extravagant and cushy contracts to the tune of tens of millions of Euros are being issued without public scrutiny and without opportunities to competition (few corporations easily score cushy EPO contracts while illusion of tendering persists -- for small jobs only)



  27. Patent Examiners and Insiders Acknowledge Profound Demise in Patent Quality Under Battistelli

    By lowering the quality of patents granted by the European Patent Office Battistelli hopes to create an illusion of success, where success is not measured properly and is assessed by biased firms which he finances



  28. Jericho Systems Threatens Alice, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Threatens the Patent Trial and Appeal (PTAB)

    A look at the two latest threats to those who helped put an end to a lot of (if not most) software patents in the US



  29. How the Halo Electronics Case Helps Patent Trolls and How Publications Funded by Patent Trolls (IAM for Instance) Covered This

    A Supreme Court ruling on patents, its implications for software patent trolls, and how media that is promoting software patents and patent trolls covered it



  30. Patent Lawyers' Fantasy Land Where Software Patents Are Suddenly Resurrected Even When They're Not

    A quick glance at where the debate over software patents in the United States stands and how profiteers (such as patent lawyers) not only mislead the public but also bully the messengers


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